Professor Yaya is a career academic and an accomplished researcher. He is Full Professor in the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa and holds the Senghor Research Chair in Health and Development. Prior to assuming the position of Vice-President International and Francophonie, he was Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford and was appointed Honorary Professorial Fellow at the George Institute for Global Health, Imperial College London. Professor Yaya has also held visiting appointments at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and New York University.
He first arrived at the University of Ottawa as an Assistant Professor, after holding a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University. Gradually rising through the ranks, Professor Yaya has assumed leadership roles that have helped strengthen the institution. He became Assistant Director and Chair of Undergraduate programs in the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences and served as Acting Director and Associate Dean of the same School. He later joined the Faculty of Social Sciences in the context of the implementation of the health-related sustainable development goals (SDGs) and was subsequently appointed Director and Associate Dean of its School of International Development and Global Studies. Professor Yaya has also chaired the President’s Committee that produced the University of Ottawa’s Internationalization Strategy and co-chaired the joint APUO-uOttawa committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
His leadership has been characterized by his focus on fostering global citizenship and training future leaders so they can develop an awareness of the world as a whole, and supporting cutting-edge research and innovation so to address the most pressing and complex societal challenges. Dr. Yaya is known as a bridge builder and his work is held in high esteem by his academic and industry colleagues. He is a distinguished health economist and global health expert known for his influential studies of maternal and child health around the world. His ground-breaking work and scholarship have been significant for their careful integration of theory and practice, their attention to important social concerns, and their examination of systems of privilege and discrimination. His research is widely cited and has been disseminated in leading academic journals such as Nature Medicine and The Lancet. He has authored, co-authored and edited 23 scholarly works, 53 book chapters and over 300 peer-reviewed papers.
Professor Yaya has been involved with several journals over the last decade. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Reproductive Health, Associate Editor, Health Economics with BMJ Global Health, and Associate Editor with Globalization and Health to name a few. He is also the Director of the Series on Health and Society at the University of Ottawa Press. His awards and recognitions have been numerous and include the University of Ottawa Award for Excellence in Research, the Faculty of Social Science Excellence in Research Award and the Socrate Excellence in Teaching Award from Université Laval; he was recently appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).
Sanni Yaya holds degrees in Sociology and Anthropology and Management, and received his PhD in Economics and Public Policy from the doctoral program jointly offered by the four leading Montreal universities (HEC-Montreal, Concordia, UQAM, and McGill).